The Center for Global Policy last week ran a webinar panel session on the Rohingya genocide. Representatives of Myanmar had previously been invited to such events but had always declined the invitations. Much to our surprise, however, the deputy chief of mission of Myanmar to the US in Washington accepted this invitation.
This kind of move is unprecedented. Up to now, the position of Myanmar on such events has been to question the motives and legitimacy of anyone raising the issue of the Rohingya genocide, while denying all of the (overwhelming) evidence for it as fabricated and hostile to the state of Myanmar.
In this sense, this appearance is a move forward, at least in the sense that the Myanmar authorities now recognize as serious the discussion that we are having in the international civil society about the genocide. This move comes in the light of January’s unanimous decision from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order Myanmar to take all measures to protect the remaining Rohingya in Rakhine from genocide. It also comes as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is under pressure to declare an official genocide in the case of the Rohingya, which would reverberate around the world. It is likely that Myanmar now also recognizes internally that its position of stonewall denial is untenable and seriously undermines the credibility of the country and its government on the world stage. For what it is, this does count as progress.
Unfortunately, on the substantive evidence and the conclusions that any impartial observer might draw, the position of Myanmar remains unchanged from what we have heard before from Aung San Suu Kyi, both in media appearances and in her representation before the ICJ late last year. This is to say that Myanmar continues to reject the findings of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the circumstances and events around the time of the genocide as false and hostile to Myanmar. Though quite why the UN would care to engage in this “conspiracy” against a country that most of the world does not care about is still not explained. Instead, it continues to refer to its own internal investigation, the results of which have yet to be published in full, but which, naturally, exonerates Myanmar and the Myanmar army.
Jul 24, 2021Police and civil authorities in the Indian capital have demolished a makeshift mosque in a Rohingya camp, say the refugees, weeks after a massive fire had engulfed the settlement. The mosque, made up of tarpaulin sheets and bamboo sticks, was bulldozed at about 7am local time (01:30 GMT) on Thursday, at the camp located in […]